Since 1983 in the United States, any man who has had sex with another man (MSM) at any time since 1977 has been deferred from donating blood for life. Although there has been a push to change the deferral, there is a paucity of information on both the rates of MSM blood donation and the willingness of MSMs to donate if the deferral were changed. Study Design and Methods A 15-question survey was given at two lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender festivals in Chicago and New Orleans. Participants were asked about a previous history of blood donation and whether they would be willing to donate were the lifetime deferral changed. Participants were also asked to determine whether it was safe for hypothetical MSMs with varying sexual practices to donate blood and whether they believed that it was safe for them to donate their own blood. Results Our study found that 42.0% of all participants had not complied with the deferral policy and have donated blood at least once, with a mean number of donations of 4.84. Additionally, 85.9% of participants would be willing to donate blood if the deferral were changed. Conclusion Despite the lifetime deferral, many MSMs have previously donated blood, and many more are willing to donate. Given this, along with the safe implementation of temporary deferral policies in other nations, the United States should consider adopting a temporary deferral policy for MSMs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy